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Shinseki apologizes for VA snafu ahead of White House meeting

"I can't explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders in our healthcare facilities," Shinseki said Friday. "This is something I rarely encountered during 38 years in uniform."
By Gabrielle Levy   |   May 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- Embattled Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was deeply apologetic, but made no indication he was preparing to leave his post, while speaking at a conference on homeless issues in Washington Friday morning.

"Given the facts I now know, I apologize as the senior leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs," he said.

His remarks came as the White House confirmed it had called Shinseki to meet with President Obama later Friday morning to discuss the mismanagement within the VA's health system and discuss whether he was the right person to fix the problems.

"I can't explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders in our healthcare facilities," he told the conference. "This is something I rarely encountered during 38 years in uniform."

Shinseki acknowledged his original assessment of the problems was wrong and that the secret waitlists kept by the Phoenix VA to mask the length of wait times for appointments were not isolated.

"I no longer believe it," he said. "It is systemic."

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